Bulgaria Airports Improve Security, Operations With IP Video System

Milestone Systems open platform IP video management software is being used by Fraport AG to improve both security and operational excellence at Varna and Burgas Airports in Bulgaria.

RAD Group has installed Milestone XProtect Enterprise software, operating several hundred Axis network cameras in both airports, with IBM servers and Cisco network infrastructure.

At the end of 2006 the German-Bulgarian consortium of the airport operator Fraport AG and the Bulgarian logistics company BM Star won a bid for the operation of both Varna and Burgas Airports -- gateways to the popular Bulgarian Black Sea tourist region that includes Sunny Beach.

Called the ‘Summer Capital’ of Bulgaria, Varna and Burgas Airports are at the heart of the area, which includes developed business communities, close to both resorts and transport facilities. Over a 35-year concession period, Fraport Twin Star Airport Management will be operating and investing in the development of both coastal airports.

Prior to 2008, Varna and Burgas Airports had individual systems for different tasks, and analog surveillance cameras. The analog technology had limitations in quality like the inability to monitor remotely between the two airports, to expand the systems, or to integrate with other security solutions. Management could see that IP technology was the way of the future and they did not want to be single-vendor dependent, in order to get best price performance.

RAD Group, a Milestone Certified Partner in the Solytron distributor channel, has installed Milestone XProtect Enterprise software, operating several hundred Axis network cameras in both airports, with IBM servers and Cisco network infrastructure. Retention of the recorded video is set to the required 30-day regulation.

Control rooms at each site with 12 37-inch display screens each show the Milestone Smart Client views of both live and recorded video, which provide overview of the customs area, baggage claim belts, arrival and departure areas, shops and gates.

Varna and Burgas Airports are using the Milestone surveillance not just for security but also for operational excellence. Officials monitor aircraft taking off and landing on the runways and on the apron to ensure proper servicing of the planes including baggage and food supply movements, vehicle traffic and operations around the tanks for refueling.

The Milestone surveillance system can be viewed and managed centrally by Fraport personnel for both of the airports or locally at each airport, depending on the user access given.

“With the implementation of Milestone XProtect Enterprise at both airports, Fraport gains the following improvements: unified video surveillance systems at both airports and centralization of the software, hardware and communications; surveillance and control of technological processes in airport servicing -- runway, apron, fuel farm, security checks, passenger and baggage flow,” said Hristo Botev, head of IT for Fraport Twin Star Airport Management. “The RAD Group manages the installation perfectly with the highest efficiency.”

In 2008 the airports set up the Milestone IP video platform, learning the system thoroughly and fine-tuning it.

Fraport Twin Star has plans to build new terminals at both airports. With the Milestone IP video open platform, it will be no problem to expand the system for this coverage, including management of activities during the construction phase. Since the airport staff includes some people with programming skills, they are furthermore interested in using the Milestone SDK to make integrations with back-end applications like logistics, to work in concert with the Milestone open platform video surveillance.

Milestone’s archiving technology provides cost efficiencies for the airports, especially considering the30-day archive retention rule. XProtect allows officials to archive recorded video on the IBM storage hardware that provides large cost-efficient hard disks, and simultaneously operates with the live video running on faster performance disks.

In addition, initial installations of some H.264 IP cameras have already proven cost savings of 30 percent, so officials look forward to incorporating more of these high-compression video cameras in future.

The airports want to add other innovations in the future through video analytics. These could be applied when they make entrance and exit lanes for passenger movements in the terminals, especially in the customs areas. Uni-directional flow will make it easier for analytics to alert when someone is going in the wrong direction. They also are looking into left baggage analytics and tripwire solutions to help prevent people from going to unauthorized areas. Tailgating alerts could detect improper access by people who try to enter on someone else’s card.

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